Balance Your Bias Before Opening Your Mouth
March 14, 2018
by Kevin Daughtry

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

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Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

Remember that your opinion isn’t always the right one.

In any organization — churches included — teams have hierarchy. Bosses and lead pastors and coordinators and managers. And it’s all a real thing, no matter how “flat” you try to structure your team.

Offering feedback is essential for a team to move forward together on the same page. But it’s important to remember that you will have an opinion. And it will be biased. Because look — here’s the thing. It’s impossible to not have a bias towards something. You can’t give objective, non-biased feedback on a person’s performance, idea or presentation. Instead, your feedback is subjective, a compilation of thoughts that are impacted by your experiences, your upbringing, your education, race, gender, etc.

But giving useful and helpful feedback to your team doesn’t have to be (1)hard, or (2) impossible. Take a look at how you approach the situation, and work to give better feedback in spite of your bias.

Acknowledge your bias (or at least, try to).

Honestly, there’s no way for you to offer objective feedback. But instead of just accepting that fact, start your feedback process by admitting your shortcomings to yourself. Some of your biases/opinions/feelings are obvious, if you take the time to think about it. You might like some people on your team more than others. You might have strong political feelings on something that a team member said. Maybe you just really, really hate the color orange.

Once you’re open to realizing your biases, you’ll be more aware of them, and you can offer opinions to other people that are helpful. If your bias is obvious to other people, then be transparent so your team has context to interpret your feedback. Try this:

Hey! I was thinking through my feedback for this [project/idea/presentation, and I’m realizing that I feel this way because I’ve had certain experiences in the past. Here’s what I’m thinking — and this is why I’m thinking it.

Consider the opposite.

You might be wrong, even if you’re objective. As a leader, it takes a lot of humility to take a step back and listen to the general consensus of your team. Maybe there’s an opinion or take that you haven’t heard yet, or data/research that proves a point.

It’s particularly easy to offer feedback simply on what we “like.” But if that’s how huge decisions within launch strategy, event planning or marketing budgets are made, then you could be headed for disaster quickly. Hire smart, Christ-minded team members and have faith that they know what they’re doing. You will learn from them, and will soon instill a culture that’s dependent on trust in each other.

Embrace a growth mindset.

Having a fixed mindset is a clear marker for failure. Leaders with a fixed mindset are often inaccurate at gauging their own abilities, feel that they can’t learn any more than they already know, and offer criticism without realizing others’ ability to learn or grow in their positions.

When working with someone who has a fixed mindset, you feel as if you’re always competing for their approval — always trying to prove that you aresmart and you are talented and you are the right person for the job.

A leader with a growth mindset is focused on success for their church or organization. They can take critical feedback on their own performance. They welcome the skill sets of others and work to develop them as team members. They acknowledge wins. They celebrate talent.

Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

If you found this article informative and helpful, please share! And don’t forget to keep a lookout for incoming resources for churches and ministries from Yellowbox Creative.

Do you need help:

(1) Launching a church plant?

(2) Designing your church series?

(3) Nurturing a creative community?

At Yellowbox, we empower churches and ministries with the tools, coaching and resources they need to reach real people. With that creative support, church outreach is no longer intrusive — it becomes a catalyst for community.